Congrats, Daniel Melamed, you are the first landlord charged. 1578 Union (near Troy) — Brooklynian

Congrats, Daniel Melamed, you are the first landlord charged. 1578 Union (near Troy)


Press conference held in front of the building at 1PM today, and all but three families have moved out:

Resulting Press:

"Daniel Melamed, 39, was indicted on charges of unlawful eviction, child endangerment and filing false documents in harassment of rent-protected tenants at the Crown Heights building he owns."

"Since 2012 the city has sued Melamed five times for lack of heat and hot water, records show. A tenant-initiated suit is still pending.

Melamed was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. A licensed engineer he hired for the Union St. job, Pirooz Soltanizadeh, 39, was also arrested.'


  • edited June 2015
    Received the following via whatsapp:

  • edited June 2015
    The emergency boiler truck is a good touch.

    Here's the AG's press release, which most of the press is cut and pasted from:
  • I find it odd that the media hasn't shown any footage of his perp walk or even of him leaving court? I suspect its because he's either an irreligious or very modern orthodox Jew from Long Island as apposed to a Crown Heights /Williamsburg Hasid. 

    I wouldn't be shocked if they purposely went after someone like him as there wouldn't be any complaints. Eric Schneiderman is one of the most opportunistic politicians out there. 
  • What is going to happen to the building? Is it going to be taken away from Melamed? I hope into won't just sit there for years now.
  • I didn't realize that this was going on. I thought it was simply a building that was being gut renovated. It was about a month or two ago that the dry cleaner on the main floor moved out. 

    From what I found online, the landlord is from Great Neck. If Eric S., though, is "one of the most opportunistic politicians out there," he has plenty of competition from putzes like Bloomberg, de Blasio, Cuomo, and Obama. In any case, this particular putz-y landlord should lose the building and have to pay VERY heavy fines to each of the families he subjected to such tremendous harassment. Perhaps he'd like his own family to have to live under such conditions.
  • edited June 2015
    He is in a position where he is not only facing fines and loss of the building, but also criminal charges that could result in prison.

    At this point, HPD has custody of the building to the degree that they are able to let reporters into the various apartments, so they can get good photos to tell the story.

    It may take some time before HPD actually gains ownership of the building. Until then, HPD will basically operate it.

    Then, the building will likely be sold by HPD at auction:

    The city will often attempt to recoup all of its expenses by requiring that buyer operate the building as housing for people so poor that they would likely otherwise be in the shelter system.
  • While I'm glad that the city is enforcing the law in this case, I wonder why this building and why now (especially as Albany hasn't bothered to renew rent regulation yet). 

    By the way, I wonder what's going on at 245 Sullivan Place.

  • edited June 2015
    The city will often attempt to recoup all of its expenses by requiring that buyer operate the building as housing for people so poor that they would likely otherwise be in the shelter system.
    Crap!  Yes, NIMBY.  Can't they just sell it for its market value and make a killing?!
  • edited June 2015
    @southeast -
    HPD doesn't follow that model.

    However, "clever developers" have been known to buy buildings from HPD while promising to serve poor people, only to find a way to fill the building with non-poor people or sell the building to different developers who fill it with non-poor people, or just leave the building empty until the obligation expires.

    Good times!

    @Mugofmead111 -
    1578 Union is an instance in which the city believes that it can show the landlord (as well as his engineer) actively engaged in behaviors that meet that standard of "criminal"'.

    The landlord seems to be a functioning person, with other properties that are magically able to be run well for market rate tenants, and a seeming well maintained home in Great Neck. The man is going to have a tough time claiming he merely neglected the building because he is disabled and/or broke.

    Meanwhile, 245 Sullivan seems to be in a situation of "mere neglect".

    It seems to be in a situation where it is regulary sold by one LLC to another. In such situations, the city often has a more difficult time proving its case. ...they have no wanton demolition to point to, and it is a lot of work figuring out how functional the rapidly changing owners are.

    So, the city is likely to gain ownership only if the LLC screws up and forgets to pay its taxes, or water bill. The unpaid fines and charges levied by the DOB are not likely be enough to get the city to act.

    When and if the city acts, the developers might be able to pass repair portions of the cost onto tenants via a MCI increase, and merely pay the fines.

  • Whatever the city spends in repairs is an automatic lien on the building. They'll eventually get their money back no matter what.
  • edited June 2015

    Correct. ...but it is a little complicated.

    My understanding is that the city has a very difficult time securing ownership of the building as a result of those leins.

    Instead, it just has the power to do things like deny building permits until the leins are paid and the violations corrected.

    To my knowledge, it can't even stop sales of the property from one entity another.

    Hence, most of the time, the city needs the landlord to commit a criminal act to do much more than:
    - keep a running tally of much it is owed
    - put the building on "Worst Building" lists year after year.

    When they sell it to a developer (often a broke, hapless non-profit) who credibly promises to fill it with poor people, the fines and charges are often waived. Hence, they recoup the $ via not having to house the poor people in a shelter.

    When the city screws it up by waiving the fees and selling the building to a "clever developer" (as defined above), only the developer wins.
  • I never stated the city would take ownership. I only wrote that they would place a lien on the property for the amount of the repairs. So, they get it if the landlord goes to refi or sell. They'll wait, but they'll get it. Even if the building is quit deeded the lien stays so the new owner gets stuck with it as the lien is on the building not the person.
  • edited June 2015
    I've decribed 2 scenarios in which the city does not get its payment in cash, despite the leins being assigned to the building:

    1. Broke, hapless nonprofit
    2. Clever developer.

    Here is a 3rd:
    3. The building may have so many lawsuits and fines pending against it that the only way to sell it to a private entity (even a for profit one that has no obligation to house poor people) may be to waive the fines and judgements.

    ....if the city continues to own the building, it can't really pay itself.

    At present, the city rarely pursues #3 because of its mounting costs sheltering the homeless and the current political climate.

    If HPD is able to find a together nonprofit or a non-clever developer, the city has the best chance of getting some, or all, of what it is owed in actual $.
  • edited June 2017
    @pragmaticguy Listings are now posted for 1578 Union. 1578 Union St #2D, Brooklyn NY 11213 Welcome to the Union Arms, a gut renovated small rental building in Crown Heights just around the corner from the 3,4,5 subways on Eastern Parkway along with plenty of restaurants, cafes, local shops, and a gourmet food store all within a block or two. This stunning apartment is a dream come true from your own Washer/Dryer (hook-up in unit) to the central Air. The finishes are well thought out & designed with stunning gray & white kitchens fully equipped with stainless steel appliances, large double sinks, quartz counters, and proper 5 burner gas stoves. The unit gets phenomenal sunlight with the large windows in every room and tall ceilings. Large separate king and queen sized bedrooms with double closets in each. The magnificent modern bathrooms feature spa like rainfall showers with custom glass and gray modern tile work.
  • If a tenant can now prove they were illegally evicted, can they also get thier apartment back if they want?
  • I assume the tenants have already received whatever compensation they are going to get. This building has been flipped at a greater cost to the flipper than many.
  • The Real Deal provides us with a pretty good summary of the efforts of the various sides. Note, they "start the story" with a different landlord than "ours"
  • edited August 2017
    Ground floor retail now available at 1578 Union
  • I never got around to taking a picture, but those store rental signs have been up for about 2 months now.
  • Rarely have I watch a landlord arrested for unlawful eviction of rent stabilized tenants, only to have the same building ultimately to become market rate.
  • edited January 2018
  • So awful. Do the tenants he tortured get anything? I'd be furious. 20 days in jail? The guy is scummier than that!
  • I walk by that storefront almost daily. The printed signs in the windows (8x11 sheets of paper, printed by computer) indicate that the space is going to be occupied by Anchor Home Health Care.
  • @morralkan are there 2 storefronts? One could become pizza and the other a home care agency.
This discussion has been closed.